tv CNN Special Report CNN December 16, 2014 9:00pm-10:01pm PST
>> love you too. bye. ah. now, i know as well as anyone you should always listen to your mother in life and on "the ridiculist." hey, that does it for us. >> the following is a cnn special report. >> i'm andersson cooper. welcome to this special report "extraordinary people." >> i'm robin mead. if you look back and weren't sure if you had that in you. we look at that aspect in extraordinary people. >> people who rise to occasions and in some cases didn't know they had it in them. in the next hour, you meet people like gary donilon. who plunged his helicopter into thick smoke to lead away from certain death. and ron johnson, the state highway patrol captain. he took a unique approach to demonstrators this summer when tensions in ferguson, missouri,
threatened to spiral even more out of control. >> you'll see firsthand what a nursing story was up against. >> she's amazing. >> this nursing student took her house and turned that into a hospital to prevent her parents from dying of ebola. and there's kevin durant, the mvp whose acceptance speech was a touching tribute for his mom he described as the mvp. >> my mom was like, why don't you make a speech like that for me? first, kevin vickers who found himself in a parliament building when it was attacked by a terrorist and took a chance to stop the attacker in his tracks. >> october 22nd, ottawa. canada's capital city. here, soldiers stand guard at the war memorial. solemn, stoic.
then gunshots. >> approximately 9:25, shots rang out. two on duty at the memorial. one, nathan sorelo, shot to death and the gunman started running towards the parliament area. parliament, the seat of canada's government, where hundreds of legislators and the prime minister were disrupted by the sound of gunfire. that's where sagt ergeant at ar kevin vickers was about to become a hero. so who is kevin virks? >> kevin was my big older brother. just kind of a low-key guy. didn't get too excited about things. so low key that he won't talk about what happened on october 22. john vickers said he knew his
brother kevin was a hero even when they were kids growing up, along the canada's mirmashi river. >> all the big kids decided to swim across the river. my younger brother, will, he got in trouble and wasn't able to continue. kevin swam over and got his arm around him and realized he was being hauled across the river by his bigger brother. >> he was joined the mounted police when he was 20 years old. >> he was all about service. it was never, ever a job. >> steadily rising through the ranks until a high point in 2006. vickers was elected sergeant at arms, with mainly ceremonial duties. but that wasn't the case on october 22. the gunman was a convert to islam and according to officials, driven by ideological and political motives.
after the war memorial shooting, that killed corporal nathan cirillo, security footage captured scenes of panic as he hijacked a car to parliament's door. the gunman ran through this main entrance. there's no metal detectors at this entrance. it's normally used by reporters and those with proper credentials. once he entered the building, that's when shots began. >> as the shooting began, i moved behind this pillar -- josh wingrove captured some of the most dramatic video inside. >> the prime minister was right over here. 300 people, 300 parliamentarians total. chairs being piled as makeshift barricade against this dor door way.
>> knowing the doors couldn't be locked and hearing that much fire power was really shocking. violet freeman was one of those parliamentarians. >> it was intense for everyone in the room. we, you know, hid under desks. >> no, no. go. >> i think we were all afraid for our lives. >> afraid until kevin vickers made his stand. >> at that moment after the first exchange, just down another hall is the sergeant at arms, kevin vickers. >> en sol mon is the host of canada's network cbs. he obtained exclusive details of how the incident transpired. >> kevin vickers grabs the pistol from his lock box and immediately exits down his hall, which is very close to where bibeau is. he goes right to the other side of the pillar. you have to imagine this, on one side of the pillar now is the shooter. on the other side of this pillar is now kevin vickers with his gun. there's a moment of tension
according to the guards who want the sergeant at arms to leave but vickers doesn't do that. instead, vickers instantly dives around the pillar holding his pistol and as he dives, he rolls on to his back. and shoots upward at bibeau. he hits bibeau and then falls on his back. vickers continues to em pty his magazine into him and then the rest of the security team immediately rush forward and they begin shooting. >> after the gunman is dead, this is the last image of vickers in the hallway that day, coolly leaving the scene.
24 hours later, vickers returns to his post. >> i'd say the whole building it was quite a large building, but the whole building was up in cheers and standing. defense very emotional. there were people who were crying. >> in my life, very few times i've ever seen kevin show emotion. it was really something you could tell the expression on his face that he was just holding it together. >> from there, the legend of kevin vickers has only grown. >> i get the cartoons with james bond and there's kevin. >> everyone knows it's been compared to bruce willis by stephen colbert. >> to hell with bruce willis. this canadian put the a in yippee-ki-yay. >> but vickers shunned the
spotlight. >> i asked him, do an interview and he said i will never talk. i did my job. and i want to get back to doing it. >> the one time vickers has spoken on camera, it was to refuse to talk further and to share the credit. >> this is not about me. this is about the security service. the incident that occurred on october 22nd was magnificently handled by a complete team effort. >> kevin vickers is absolutely a hero. and he's a humble, stoic man at that. a genuinely feel and felt at that moment that he had saved my life that day. >> when the nation needed kevin, they had the right guy at the right time at the right place. ahead, a community in chaos.
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in august, ferguson, missouri, erupted into protest after a police officer shot to death 18-year-old michael brown. when the summer demonstrations threatened to rip the city apart at the seems, a state highway patrol captain was asked to help bring peace and ron johnson took what some thought was an unconventional approach with the protesters. don lemon has the story. >> i told you, get out of here. it's your last warning. >> go home! >> it seemed like something out of the '60s. nobody saw the magnitude of it initially and it just kept
growing and growing. >> watching in disbelief was missouri highway patrol captain ron johnson. he wasn't assigned to be there but came anyway to quietly support his troops. >> i began to see people that i knew out on that street. and no one would see fire when you heard gunshots. see people that you know and told me i needed to be there and i remain, kept going by. >> you had to help? >> yes. >> when do we want it? >> now. >> with ferguson cops at the middle of the controversy, the governor turned to the highway patrol. colonel ron replogle of the highway patrol. >> i was asked to leave in charge and it was decided on recommendation that be captain ron johnson.
>> a locally grown trooper with just the right temperament. >> he's a very compassionate person. that's exactly what we're looking is to calm emotions and bring some trust to the situation and certainly, ron was the right person for the right time and the right situation. >> today, i'm announcing the missouri highway patrol under the supervision of captain ron johnson who grew up in this area will be directing the team to provide security in ferguson. >> it would be his biggest assignment since joining the highway patrol 27 years ago. >> this is my original id card when i became a trooper. >> oh, wow. >> that's the original badge that i had. number 326. wallet is worn and tattered. i keep that to remind me of
where i started. >> he followed in his father's footsteps. >> this is my father. he was a police sergeant at st. joe university. he passed in 2012. you talk about heroes, it's because of this one. my hero. >> for more than ten years, johnson has led the largest state patrol troop in the area. >> when i became a policeman, it was to make this community better. >> this community never needed him more than in this moment. >> when the governor called you, you were probably telling everybody, i don't think so. but did you know? >> i don't think i wanted to know because of the magnitude was so large of what i saw. and not knowing if i was strong enough to face it. >> you didn't think you could do it? >> no. >> but you wanted to. >> i did. >> why are you crying? >> you know, sometimes i guess you put that uniform on and you think you can take on the world. you believe that you're invincible and god can humble you just when you think you can't be humbled. >> johnson took action immediately. >> we are going to have a different approach and have the approach that we're in this together.
>> i love that press conference. and i knew it was a march that was going to occur and the pastor that was in charge of that, i knew her. so i ask her if i could march with the group. and she said, i'd rather you not. the air was just out of me. surely i thought she was going to say yes and invite me. i said, i need to do it for me because this is a part of who i am. this community is a part of who i am and i'm marching in the very back. >> johnson finally overcame the objections and started the healing by joining the marchers. >> she looked at me and said, i want to march in front with me and i tell people, that was a changing point. >> for the first time since the shooting, his approach ushered in an era of calm. >> then as we march, people started coming up to me and extending their hand, shaking my hand. and people started coming up to me and giving me hugs. and saying thank you. i started walking and shaking people's hands.
>> no justice, no peace! >> that simple act of connecting and communicating shifted the atmosphere within hours. >> thank you. >> i'm a man first. a black man second. i'm a husband and i'm a father and i'm a son. a trooper. >> right by his side, his better half, lauren. >> so you're college sweethearts? >> we are, we've been married 26 years. >> what does he do when he's not working? >> his favorite hobby is riding his harley. i ride with him at times. and it's such a stress reliever for him. >> stress goes with the job. and so does danger. early on, a veteran trooper advised a young couple to live
each day as if it were their last. >> love you, have a good day. >> one of the things the colonel at the time told us was make sure that you kiss your spouse before they leave to go off every morning. >> all right, see you later. >> and it wasn't to scare us or anything but it was just to let us know that we don't know what dangers they face when they're trying to protect and serve. >> it's about the justice for everyone. >> with her husband on the front line in ferguson's riots, all she could do was pray for his own safety. >> do you worry you could lose him? >> that thought crossed my mind. when he would walk out amongst everyone and see he didn't have on a vest and that just scared me. >> you had a conversation with him. what did you say? >> it was one of the more violent nights. and i said, rod, please wear your vest. the kids and i need you. please wear your vest and he said, promise. i promise. >> i appreciate it. >> take care. >> ron johnson has many roles. black man, cop. >> what's going on?
>> father. all of which was critical when it came to calming a community reeling from the death of a young black man. >> and we all ought to be thanking the browns for michael because michael is going to make it better for our sons so they can be better black men. >> he also talks about your son publicly and about what this case means, especially for young men of color. >> ron has always spoken with brad about the differences that he may experience driving. we always told him when he turns 16, you do what you're told.
just make sure you come home. >> the profiling. >> the profiling, having to tell my son and daughter when they go certain places or how their demeanor needs to be. i think people that probably never heard of police men come out and say those things were true. >> it was a new and necessary message from a man many call a hero. >> are you a hero? >> i don't think so. but my daughter sent me a text and she said, dad, you're my hero. so that recognition of hero, i will accept. >> that's it, you're done? you don't have to accomplish anything else? >> no, i'm done. you know, my son and daughter, my wife mean the world to me. when my daughter was born, i said that god sent me an angel. sent me compassion. when i had a son, god gave me courage. and so that's all i need. coming up -- battling the
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virus, thousands have died so far. when a young woman saw her father turned away from overcrowded hospitals, she decided to treat him herself. armed with nothing more than plastic bags, some rain boots and stockings for protection, she managed to save three infected family members. elizabeth cohn has her story. >> reporter: death, despair. the plague of ebola ravaging liberia. in the midst of this horror, a remarkable story of lives saved by this young woman. growing up in the poverty stricken town of kochthe liberia, she's been surrounded by disease and death.
that's why she always wanted to make a difference to become a nurse. three years ago, fatu enrolled in nursing school. >> i don't like to see people suffer. and i really want to become a nurse now. we help people save the life of my fellow liberiians. >> reporter: fatu never imagined before graduating, she would have to battle a deadly epidemic beginning in july when her father was infected with ebola. >> he started to put on the symptoms. the vomiting, the stooling, the fever. so that was when we decided to take him to a town at the center. but when we went, they rejected him. we went to three facilities that night. >> reporter: three hospitals turned him away. >> yes. >> reporter: overwhelmed with gravely ill patients. finally, one hospital near their home admitted moses but fatu
said no one was treating him. as her father became sicker and sicker, fatu knew what she must do. take her father home and treat him herself. >> were you scared to bring your father with ebola home? >> i was not at first. >> reporter: why weren't you afraid? ebola spreads. >> of course, but i had faith. >> reporter: you knew what to do. >> yes. >> reporter: fatu isolated her father in one part of the house to prevent the disease from spreading to her family but she couldn't. within days, her mother victoria, sister, vivian, and cousin alfred got sick.
>> i tweeted them all by myself, no one around. all alone. >> reporter: she was forced to improvise. so we're at fatu's house and show how she geared up to be a one woman ebola hospital. >> i was using protective gear. my own protective gear that i developed. black plastic bag, rain boots, long trousers, hair covered, mask. >> reporter: they must have been so sick. >> yes, they were very sick. >> reporter: so sick, they almost died. at times, their blood pressure dropped so low she feared they were gone. >> i cried many a time. i cry, i cry. i said, god, you want to tell me that i will lose my entire family? >> reporter: but fatu kept fielgting with little support or equipment to help her. up to ten times a day, fatu suited up in her homemade protective gear to nurse her
family back to health. fatu consulted her family doctor on which medications her family needed. she bathed them, fed them, gave them fluids through ivs, nursing them around the clock and yet, she never got ebola. after weeks of caring for her mother, father, sister, and cousin, they were finally admitted to a hospital. there, cousin alfred passed away. but fatu saved the other three members of her family. >> do you owe your life to her? >> more than my life. because i can say even though god saved me, well, she saved my life also. >> reporter: when unicef heard about fatu, they began teaching her inventive methods hoping to
help at homes as well as hospitals. >> i'm very much proud of fatu kekula for the way she did through the power of almighty god. >> i'm feeling fine because all of them was sitting back home. so i am feeling proud of myself. and i know they have said they are very proud. >> reporter: you're quite a nurse. and you're not even officially a nurse yet. >> no. >> reporter: fatu was supposed to be in her final year of nursing school but because of the ebola epidemic, the schools in liberia have closed. her father hopes fatu can continue her education. >> i'm on my knees to pray for a scholarship. >> reporter: his prayers might be answered. after hearing fatu's story, a non-profit organization is raising money for fatu to finish nursing school in the united
states. >> i'm sure she would be a great giant of liberia. >> reporter: fatu hopes he's right. helping the epidemic plaguing their country. just ahead, one man's race to save a dozen lives. >> i knew if they stayed there, they're going to die. ♪you better pledge ♪ your allegiance♪ ♪you're not the only one ♪listen up forefathers ♪i'm not your son
welcome back to extraordinary people. you may remember back in june of 2013, 19 hot shot firefighters were killed near prescott, arizona. a horrific tragedy, trying to control a rapidly expanding forest fire. helicopter pilot gary donilon was very much aware of the losses as he hustled in september of 2014 to help 12 men trapped by a wildfire in placerville, california. >> only, gary, because he was flying high above the fire could see the way out. this rescue would require good flying skills, his reassuring voice from the guy that someone later regarded as their guardian angel. >> the el dorado national forest in the sierra nevada mountains, picturesque, tranquil. but not this past september.
>> the fire is an absolute monster up here. >> the king fire as it was called raged far month, relentlessly burned miles of acres. moved family ts from homes and destroyed dozens of dwellings. gary dolen trying to chip away at the inferno, one 240 gallon bucket at a time. the king fire, how would you describe it? >> explosive. this particular day, it took off. the 15th of september. >> several miles into the
forest, flemming was leading his crew on foot. >> we worked a 24 hour shift, a 12 hour shift that day zpt day before. >> kevin headed up a crew called the devil garden's five, ten inmate firefighters and one bulldozer operator. they had just contained a spot fire on the hillside. >> i turned around and saw these trees on fire. the fire was then about to overrun the dozer. >> none of them could see the fire was just this close. fog blocked their view. >> when i looked out my back window, i had seen the fire was already right behind me. >> abandoned the bulldozer and sprinted back to the others and then they realized they were trapped. >> about 20 seconds later, we
decided we were going to deploy fire shelters. >> their small tents to hope lock enough oxygen for you and block out the fire's deadly heat. 19 firefighters in arizona's yarnell fire of 2013 deployed theirs but didn't survive. >> when it comes time to do it yourself, it really seems surreal because it is your last option. >> the call kevin eventually got out despite dying batteries and a spotty gps to indicate his location. >> el dorado, we're in a safety zone for shelter. >> helicopter pilot gary dolan heard the call from dispatch. >> what did you hear on the call? >> all available helicopters prepare for an emergency launch. i'd been doing 28 years and never heard that terminology before. so i just jumped in and started it up. >> with that, gary was on a tear to get to the trapped men ten miles away. >> on fire. the smoke all over 30,000 feet. okay, we're right over the fire there with the guys. >> we got in our fire shelters
right over here and then we heard the helicopter. >> i saw the fire shelters below me and looked out this way and i just saw the wall of fire coming. >> you could tell that if they stayed in those fire shelters -- >> i knew if they stayed there, they were going to die. >> from his bird's eye view, gary could also see a possible escape route. he radioed to kevin what was a risky recommendation. >> i estimated they had about three minutes to run about 200 yards. i told them, you need to get out of your fire shelters and you need to follow me. you need to run fast. >> we started running down the road and i figured he could see the big picture, so i just went with it. and that's when he said -- >> keep going guys, that thing is coming. >> from my perspective, my adrenaline was going. and it seemed like they were just lollygagging along. >> keep going. get out of the way of that thing, keep running. >> branches and burning pine cones and dust devils and fire
whirls, everything started falling around us. >> of course, i was worried. i was praying they would outrun this fire. >> when we got around the corner up here is where i could see ahead of us and i figured at that point, we weren't going to make it. the fight or flight mechanism kicked in and we were running through the cramps. >> now exhausted with all of their equipment left behind, listen on this next transmission when they realized they successfully outran the wall of flames. >> we just outran. almost caught us. >> and i'm flying around like this trying to locate the guys on the road and make sure they're on the right road. >> okay, there is a two track road to lead you to freedom. >> we ended up going 4.5 miles tor nearest clearing where gary's helicopter and another could pick up all 12 guys. >> what did you think that moment when they finally emerged. >> yeah, that's when it got interesting because kevin came walking up to me and he said --
are you the guy in the continuer leading us out of there? >> i said yes and he just gave me a bear hug. >> i might have held on to him for a little bit. >> i said to him, i said you guys are the luckiest sons of bitches on the planet. >> back on the base, the team could contact loved ones. he dialled his wife christina. >> it was scary. he didn't want to die like that. and that he just wanted to tell page's daughter he loved us. >> gary's bravery that day in september of 2014 didn't impact just the 12 people caught in the king fire. so we have a little surprise for you and that is that we have a letter that the wife of one of the people in the crew that you
saved. her name, mrs. viera. i want you to read it outloud. >> not just myself but on behalf angel, grandchildren and children, family and friends. words can never express how grateful and blessed we are that you risked your own life to save my husband and everyone else's life that day. you are a true angel in the sky. true hero. >> truly thankful, miss vierra. >> i see the depth in what i do and why these guys being good runners in saving themselves. i guess that's what makes it
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at 6'9" with hundreds of millions of dollars in endorsements, a featured film role, nba star kevin durant has a lot of fans but earlier this year, he picked up more in an extraordinary moment off the court. a single speech filled with emotion and gratitude, and durant went from being a coveted sports league fantasy pick to your mom's favorite ballplayer. on may 6th in front of fans, friends, and family, kevin durant was awarded the top individual honor in basketball. when the best players in the world focused his acceptance speech outward. he thanked everyone. >> first off, i'd like to thank god for changing my life. >> singled out, every teammate. >> fall in love with it just not because of me playing but
because i got guys like this to push me to be the best i can be. and last, my mom. >> and most of all, touched the hearts of millions when he praised his mom. >> the odds are stacked against us. we weren't supposed to be here. you made us believe. you kept us off the street. put clothes on our backs, food on the table. when you didn't eat, you made sure we ate. you went to sleep hungry. you sacrifice for us. you're the real mvp. [ applause ] >> for kevin, acknowledging his most valuable parent was a no-brainer. >> my mom does so much for me to make it possible to do anything you want to do. >> i was expecting him to mention our family and the sacrifices made for him. but i didn't know it would be to that magnitude. >> and neither did kevin. >> i didn't know what i was
gym. >> there's compassion for the children there. i thought that was being in that maryland pg county area, that was as big as the rest of the world. >> a world that began and ended at the seat pleasant rec center. >> i remember like it was yesterday. it was probably about two miles away from my grandma's house and i would run two miles to the gym every single day nonstop. i was running really because i wanted to get through that neighborhood and get to where i felt safe which was the gym. >> at times he'd spend all day and night here even sleeping behind a curtain in the gym. >> at the rec center there was a lot of love and concern and passion and passion for the children there. and that's what we gravitated to. >> kevin rarely wanted to leave the gym, he does have fond memories of home when he, his mom and brother lived with his grandmother. >> you don't have to worry about a thing, coming home, doing your homework and lived off pure joy and love and that's when everything was simple. >> it was simple and filled with love but wanda needed a place of her own. she and her two boys would leave grandma's house moving from place to place until wanda's determination paid off. >> mom saved some money up and we was able to rent an apartment over in a decent part of town, you know, still rough but it was better and it was ours. that's the main thing.
>> it was really a big time for me because i was stepping out on my own away from my mom and i had to be stable for my kids and for myself and so that was a huge accomplishment for me and so what i had done is before all of our furniture arrived, i -- the three of us went to the apartment just to celebrate. >> no bed, no furniture and we just all sat in the living room and just hugged each other because we -- that's what -- we thought we made it. >> wanda pushed her children to work hard and dream big just like she did. >> you wake me up in the middle of the night in the summertimes making me run up the hill, making me do push-ups, screaming at me from the sideline of my games at 8 or 9 years old. we wasn't supposed to be here. >> i knew that you can achieve whatever you want to achieve as long as you're willing to put in the hard work forward and so i made him my responsibility, to teach him that, to never give up, to never quit and to always push yourself beyond what you think you could achieve. >> i didn't have a plan b.
i just wanted to be a basketball player. i put all my eggs in one basket. which was 8 years old and i told my mom, i said, look, that's what i want to be. that's what i'm going to do every single day to get to where i want to be. >> kevin wanted to play pro basketball. today he's a bona fide superstar having made his way from high school to the university of texas to the nba. he's made sure to give back to the places that have meant so much to him along his journey. and he's a hero in his new hometown, oklahoma city. when a massive tornado tore through the nearby city of moore durant pledged a million dollars in relief to help the devastated city rebuild. >> which went there i seen all these families and they were just smiling and happy that they were alive. everybody wanted to say that helped those people out but i
think they help mood he out a little bit more. >> generosity, hard work and humility have made kevin a favorite with fans and teammates. >> he's always been a very unselfish guy. i can remember i think maybe about two years ago he had a cover shoot for one of the magazines and, you know, he made them change the cover shoot to put all starting five on the magazine. >> kevin included them in the magazine and in his nearly half hour speech. >> some people outside might have thought it was long-winded but it meant a ton to us. >> more testimony than speech, durant made sure his trophy didn't solely define who he is. >> i'm a christian man first off. i'm a work in progress. basketball life is short compared to the rest of your life and i've learned that these last few years and basketball is my life, it's what i do.
it's what i love to do. but there's so much more to me as a man. >> as the new season began kevin found himself sidelied with an injury, another challenge to conquer as he pushes toward capturing the nba championship that so far has eluded him. >> in our profession it's always about mvp have cool but you got to win the championship, one is cool but you got to win two. we never appreciate the moment. >> mvp, kevin durant. >> an mvp award perhaps someday an nba title. for kevin all step as long the way in his unlikely and incredible journey. >> i got to the nba and coming from where i was from, a lot of kids don't make it so to do something that's never been done in my neighborhood was my championship.
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hey, thanks for joining us this past hour. i hope you've enjoyed meeting these extraordinary people. >> in the last hour we've seen these people are so selfless willing to put themselves on the line, willing getting shot, burned, what have you. >> for complete strangers at times or for family members. the case of kevin durant willingness to share his glory. >> thank you so much for joining us. i'm robin meade.
>> i'm anderson cooper. have a great day. [ applause ] good evening, i'm don lemon, >> welcome. we would like to thank you for joining uhs in the united states and viewer elsewhere. global condemnation for a barbaric attack, and we are learning more about the group claiming responsibility for killing defenseless children. a new and ominous threat from the hackers behind the sony breach. and now they're invoking 9/11. and russia's economic crisis deepens with its currency hitting all-time lows. an hour ago, it was 60. now it's like 85. i'm afraid because we got our wa